COVID-19 has affected almost every industrial sector in India, especially the travel and tourism industry. Lockdown followed by travel restrictions across the country blunted the tourist enthusiasm significantly. After the lockdown being announced in March 2020, the tourism sector faced a crippling effect as it clashed with the peak tourism season kickstarting from early April. A lot many businesses starting from hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and other facilities that are directly or indirectly related to tourism have taken a toll owing to this pandemic.
But once when the government uplifted the travel restrictions in August 2020, people went crazy. The travel industry, which was in a dull phase, broke all records and did remarkably well. Some resorts and homestays were even booked for future dates. International borders were also opened for tourists, which gave India that much-needed boost in tourism.
However, with the arrival of the second wave in the country, the travel and tourism industry has taken a toll again. Amidst the rising cases of coronavirus in India and lockdown, this industry has come to a standstill, but not for long. Just like the last year, we are sure this industry will bounce back.
According to a survey done on nearly 6000 travellers, approx. 61% of the people feel hopeful about travel in 2021, out of which 83% are planning to take two or more domestic trips and approx. 44% plan for at-least one international vacation if borders open up.
The good news is vaccinations have started in India, and more than 9.3% of the total population has been vaccinated with a single dose, and nearly 2.5% of the population is fully vaccinated, things are getting better. We see a declined number of cases each day, which concludes that soon things are expected to get back to normal and all the affluent and above middle class which spends on travel will be vaccinated in next couple of months.
And this is not just the case in India. If we look at a broader perspective and look for international tourism, countries like Israel and China are all set to open their borders for tourists. Talking about Israel, more than 60% of their population has received at least one vaccine shot, and there is a remarkable decline in the number of active cases. According to the reports, Israel’s Tourism Minister and Health Minister have agreed on a reopening plan for tourism and are planning to reopen to vaccinated tourists as of May 23, 2021. The same goes for China. This country plans to vaccinate 40% of its population by the end of July and then work towards its tourism.
Just like what people went through in March 2020, after being locked up in their homes, the same is happening now. But seeing the past trend, we are confident that once cases decline and more people get immunised, they would again want to have some fun time at the beaches or in the mountains. They would want a perfect getaway for themselves, which will again bring a surge in the travel and tourism industry.
But until then, what businesses, who are functional in this industry, must do. According to experts who have been in this business for so long, recommend working on the marketing strategies and understanding what customers would want. Also, there is some good news for the travel operators as Israel clearly mentioned,” Initially only visitors traveling in tour groups will be allowed, since they’re easier to monitor, and so that the number of visitors can be capped.” So, there are high chances of other countries too following this criteria.
Although the times are tough, as they say, the best thing about time is that it constantly changes. Experts believe that good recovery in the tourism industry will occur somewhere near the late July or early August 2021 when more people are immunized so domestic travel will surely improve in the coming few months.
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